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SBD Global/November 16, 2012/Olympics

Qatar Unveils Plan For More Than 70 Venues, With Eyes On Summer Olympics

The Qatar Olympic Committee revealed the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan, wrapping up the ASPIRE4SPORT 2012 Congress and Expo, according to the GULF TIMES. Over the past two years, "the plan audited 62 existing sports venues for usability and proposed 11 new ones, in addition to eight venues originally planned" by the country's Olympic committee. QOC Secretary General Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said, "Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants. We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them; and our team has worked backward, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events." The new venues will be distributed over five zones around Lusail City, Qatar Foundation, Aspire Zone, Old Airport Area and Qatar University (GULF TIMES, 11/15). Reuters' Brian Homewood noted Qatar will keep bidding for the Summer Olympics, "despite having failed to make the cut in the race to host the 2016 and 2020 Games." Sheikh Saoud said, "Every time we bid, we are listening and learning to see how we can make our bid stronger." Qatar has a population of "only 1.7 million people but is aiming to become a sports hub for the Middle East and North Africa region." Sheikh Saoud added, "We think our next bid will be even stronger because of what we have learnt from 2020, and we think that each time we bid, we can get closer" (REUTERS, 11/15).

Meanwhile at ASPIRE4SPORT, Sheikh Saoud and French Olympic Committee Secretary General Jean-Pierre Mougin signed "a memorandum of understanding." The agreement will see the two "work together toward excellence in sports, whether Olympic or non-Olympic, through the exchange of knowledge through resources, managers, coaches and sports medicine experts" (GULF TIMES, 11/13).
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Olympics, Middle East

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